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CORRECTED-METALS-China growth propels copper prices to 9-month high

 (corrects to make clear price closed up in para 4)
    * GRAPHIC-2019 asset returns: 
    * China data boosts metals sentiment

    By Zandi Shabalala
    LONDON, April 17 (Reuters) - Copper prices hit a nine-month
high on Wednesday as firmer-than-expected economic growth
figures from China boosted expectations for higher demand in the
world's top metals consumer.
    China's economy grew at a 6.4 percent pace in the first
quarter from a year earlier, defying expectations for a further
slowdown, as industrial production jumped sharply and consumer
demand showed signs of improvement.             
    "The data is confirmation that there are clear tailwinds to
Chinese growth into the second quarter and mid-year," said
Deutsche Bank metal strategist Nick Snowdon.
    Benchmark copper         touched its highest since July 3 at
$6,608.50 per tonne before finishing up 0.9 percent at $6,556. 
    China, which is in the midst of a trade conflict with the
United States, ramped up fiscal stimulus this year to support
the world's second largest economy after a slew of disappointing
data pointed to a potential slowdown.
    But some analysts warned it may be too early to say the GDP
data was a sign of a full turnaround in the Chinese economy and
a break from narrow trading ranges for metals. 
    "Whilst potentially the first quarter represents a key
turning point for the balance of 2019, as to whether it presents
a panacea to the mean reversion/range trading so evident in our
space seems unlikely," said Alastair Munro at broker Marex
    OUTPUT: China's crude steel output grew 10 percent in March
compared with the same month a year ago as mills ramped up
operations amid a profit margin recovery and less stringent
curbs on production in the country's anti-smog crackdown.
    DATA: China's aluminium production fell 3.6 percent on a
daily basis in March from the previous two months to its lowest
rate since October, pressured by winter curbs on industry and
low prices.             
    This pushed Shanghai aluminium          up as high as 13,995
yuan ($2,092.59) a tonne, its highest intra-day level since
    LME ALUMINIUM: LME aluminium         inched down 0.3 percent
to $1,850 per tonne.
    AUSTRALIA RAILWAY: A railway that carries zinc from major
producers such as Glencore         , MMG Ltd           and South
32          across Australia's Outback is expected to reopen
this month after it was damaged in floods.             
    COLUMN: Zinc is coming under sustained attack from bearish
funds. The trigger for the assault was Tuesday morning's London
Metal Exchange (LME) stocks report, showing 10,625 tonnes of
inflow into exchange warehouses.             
    PRICES: Zinc         climbed 0.4 percent to $2,819.50 per
tonne, lead         gained 1.4 percent to $1,946 while tin
        was down 0.5 percent at $20,405 per tonne.
    Nickel         did not trade in closing rings, nor were
there any bids or offers. In electronic trading, prices were
down 0.7 percent at $12,865 a tonne at 1624 GMT.

 (Additional reporting by Mai Nguyen, editing by Louise Heavens,
Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Ken Ferris)